Craig Anderson stops 30 as Senators drop Hurricanes

Cody Ceci scored the winning goal early in the third period and the Ottawa Senators beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Thursday night.

OTTAWA — It’s only two wins, but Ottawa coach Dave Cameron is more than happy to call it a streak.

The Senators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 Thursday night to post back-to-back victories for the first time since Jan. 16-18.

Coincidentally, it was one year ago today that Ottawa started its remarkable streak that saw it go 23-4-4 to slide into the post-season.

“I really liked (Thursday’s) game, obviously the result first and foremost,” said Cameron.

“Secondly this team came in and we knew it was going to be a challenge because this team pressure’s you and that’s an area we’ve had difficulty with — team’s that pressure us. We don’t stick with it, we tend to get impatient and stubborn and try to create something when it’s not there and it’s been the thing we’ve been trying to correct. We stuck with it (Thursday).”

Cody Ceci, who now has two goals in his last three games, scored the winner early in the third.

Alex Chiasson, Zack Smith and Mark Stone, with an empty netter, also scored for the Senators (27-26-6). Craig Anderson stopped 30 shots.

Jordan Staal and Riley Nash scored for the Hurricanes, (26-21-10), who failed to earn a point for the first time in six games. Eddie Lack made 18 saves.

“I thought we made it harder than we needed to with some of the penalties,” said Hurricanes coach Bill Peters.

“We took a penalty at the end of a period when there was no threat of anything negative happening to you at that stage, so you start shorthanded. We took a penalty in the third that’s avoidable, too many men on the ice and that just shortens the trap, right? You still want two more minutes to play 5-on-5 to see if you can get the game tied up. We made enough mistakes to make it harder than it needed to be.”

The Senators, who have given up the first goal in 39-of-59 games, helped their cause by scoring first and are now 17-3 when doing so.

“It’s always nice to play with a lead,” said Anderson. “There’s less pressure, you’re not gripping the stick as much, you’re not playing high risk and taking unnecessary chances that you are when you’re down by a goal.”

The win was also character building for the Senators as they have struggled heavily over the years to beat the Hurricanes.

“We talked a bit about that this morning and just kind of put it back in our heads the trouble we’ve had with them,” said Smith. “It’s just nice to get a win. It’s tough to put a finger on why we’ve had so much trouble with them the last few years, but (Thursday) was a big one for us.”

With the game tied 2-2, Ottawa regained the lead 3:50 into the third when Ceci’s shot was deflected and the puck managed to float its way behind Lack. Stone added the empty-net goal at 19:59.

“I thought we kept at it, but they did a good job of sticking with it too, obviously, and they came up with the extra one in the end and we couldn’t find that third one,” said Carolina’s Jordan Staal.

Ceci admitted it wasn’t his finest goal, but the fact it led to the two points was all that mattered.

“I think we were due for something like that to happen,” said Ceci. “We’ve been playing well our last four, five games and just haven’t been getting the result so it was nice to have the bounce on our side and get the win.”

The Senators took a 2-1 lead at the five-minute mark of the second as Smith beat Lack with an ugly goal that slipped under the netminder’s left arm.

Ottawa gave up a late goal to tie the game 2-2. With just under two minutes remaining Nash beat Anderson with a wrist shot on the power play.

The Senators opened the scoring when Curtis Lazar made a great pass to Chiasson, who beat Lack from the slot.

The Senators played a solid first period but were unable to hold off the Hurricanes, who scored with 23 seconds remaining as Jordan Staal beat Anderson through the legs.

Notes: C Shane Prince was a healthy scratch for the Senators. D Mark Borowiecki missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. Carolina’s C Nathan Gerbe and C Brad Malone were healthy scratches. D Justin Faulk is out with a leg injury.

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